Learning Activity – Gestalt Theory

03. September 2017 Uncategorised 0
Learning Activity – Gestalt Theory
Practical Assignment (Observation and Analysis)           3-4 hrs
  • Define the Gestalt Theory in your own words.
  • Page through a magazine or newspaper or browse the Internet and find a different logo for each of the Gestalt principles. Explain in your own words, which logos are showing which principles, motivate your answer.
  • Find examples of four themes of thinking, and explain your choices. 

Due Dates

Learning Activities should be uploaded onto WordPress by the end of the week. 

Resources and Equipment

  • Notebook and pen
  • Examples of printed, television or Internet advertisements


The Gestalt Theory

A “Unified whole”, as it means in a psychology term. It is about our visual perception. We can use the Gestalt Theory in our design, since it is about how our mind perceives wholes out of incomplete parts. This theory has different parts that we can bring together to form a “whole” or a singular entity. By using the Gestalt Theory, it will help us in our design to get the message out there; it gets us to see the visual image. The Gestalt Theory is about how we use our brain to see the “whole” out of incomplete parts. 

We have different Gestalt principles, we have:

Similarity; and similarity happens when we have shapes/objects that look similar to one another. We tend to see them as patterns or groups, when they are unified together. If there is an object that looks different, it is called an ‘anomaly’, and it will be the focus point when it stands out of the group.


Continuation; is when your eyes move through one starting point to another, when you have movement throughout the design, like an “arrow” pointing you in one direction to another object.. This can be a line or a curve. 


Closure; this is when our eyes see an unfilled shape, but our eyes “closes” the design, because there is just enough information to do so. Therefore this is called “Closure”, it is when we complete the shape.


Proximity; This is when single objects is placed close enough together, and therefor are perceived as a group, even though there is distance between the objects, they are seen as a “whole”.

If the objects are placed with big enough space around them, they are not seen as an unity, but as single objects. 

The same goes for this picture below, the placement, shape and distance between the people form a “whole” looking like a tree, this is because of their proximity. 

Bilderesultat for gestalt theory proximity


Figure and Ground; it’s when our eyes differentiate an object/shape from its surrounding area. Our eyes see objects, silhouettes or shapes as the figure, while the surrounding white space is seen as the ground. The white space “ground” is as important as the “figure”, they work together to balance one another. It is like when you are reading this text, the text you are reading in this blog post is seen as the figure, and the white space is seen as the ground.
There is 3 different types of figure ground relationships, you have:

Stable; this is when you see it clearly what is figure or what is ground. You see right away what dominates the composition.

Reversible; this is when it is tension in the composition, when both the figure and the ground are equally attracting the viewer. This makes the design dynamic.

Ambiguous; this is when elements both can look figure or ground. The shapes of figure and ground can both be interesting, and it will be up to the viewer to decide and find their own starting point of the composition. 


Earlier in our first year of our study, we had a Mandatory task about 9 different design principles. We had to pick 3 favorites of the design principles and make our own illustration to each of the three. Two of my illustrations I choose to use from the Gestalt Theory; figure and ground, and closure. Here you can see how I solved that task. 




Different logo for each of the principles:



In this IBM logo you see the letters right away, instead of only seeing the horizontal lines. Our brain sees the letters right away, and makes a “whole” of the horizontal lines stacked on top of each other, instead of lines with gaps. 

Bilderesultat for ibm logo

Here you see some samples of proximity that I have put together by searching the internet:



You can see the both C’s in the Chanel logo, even though the one C is reverse. The two C’s forms a clean shape/figure, but you can still tell the letters apart. The object C is similar to the other. The same goes for the NBC logo. This logo has 6 similar objects that look like a “whole”, and our brain perceives this group as a unit.

Bilderesultat for chanel logo



You will find the closure principle in this Paramount logo. Your brain fills in the blanks in this logo, and you see the mountain as a “whole”, because your brain is filling in the missing pieces. You see it clearly in the WWF logo, the panda is the figure, and the white space is the ground and is filling in the gaps in the panda, making you see the logo as a “whole”. 

Bilderesultat for paramount logo

Bilderesultat for wwf


Here you see some samples of closure that I have put together by searching the internet:



Figure and Ground:

In this Pittsburgh Zoo logo you see the tree with the birds right away, making a figure. But, if you look closer, you will see that the white space makes two animals shaping around the tree. I believe that this is a ‘Stable’ version of the figure and ground, because you can see it right away what dominates the logo. The tree is in focus, and then you see the animals.

Bilderesultat for figure ground famous logos

Here you see some samples of Figure Ground that I have put together by searching the internet:



Continuation is when you have movement in the picture, and you have elements that draws your attention from one part to another.Take a good look at this FedEx logo, the logo has a hidden message, if you look closely at the E and the X, you will see that there is an arrow forming between the letters. Maybe not so easy to see right away, but then you have the Amazon logo, where you see it clearly, and the right away goes from one point to another following the arrow. The arrow makes us move from one point to another. And if you look again at the Amazon logo, you will see that the arrow is starting from A and pointing to Z, this is a hidden message telling that they have everything from A to Z, that’s clever. 🙂 You see the same in the Nike logo. 

Bilderesultat for amazon logo

Here you see some samples of Continuation that I have put together by searching the internet:

I found this fun and explaining picture on the internet
Bilderesultat for proximity pattern gestalt


Four themes of thinking



Kiss = Keep it short and simple, or keep it simple stupid.  The goal is to have a clear message and remove all unnecessary elements, and just keep the importants ones. You need to have a clear understanding of the message, and who your target audience is, and what you want to commincate. KISS is a modern acronym, but is simular to Ockham’s razor, wich have been around for hundreds of years. Here is an example of an advertisement that is keeping it simple. Here the message is clear, it uses the Gestalt Theory, by using figure and ground, showing wine bottles and forks. This suits the Melbourne Food and Wine festivals theme. The message is clear. 

FGR allows for one "design" to represent the two aspects of this festival; food and wine, by creating the prongs of the fork with wine bottles


Text minimazation

This means that you have minimal with text in the design, and the text should have high meaningful impact, be kept short and precise. I found this commercial poster on Pinterest, and I think the text is direct and right to the point. The commercial itself is proximity. The second picture the title line there is “Stories”, and the ‘S’ is closure principle. The title is short, and the picture is interesting.

I love this. It has a great tranquil, soft beauty.first of all it reminds of the clipping mask tool in Illustrator.secondly,I love the simple black & white color scheme.I especially love how the only thing black are the tree branches,so with the white fill of the A & the white background,it's creating great negative space all over.

Das wäre mal ein Titel für eine coole Hochzeitszeitung. Textured www.lab333.com https://www.facebook.com/pages/LAB-STYLE/585086788169863 http://www.labs333style.com www.lablikes.tumblr.com www.pinterest.com/labstyle


White space:

White space is used to give space around an object/shape, to keep the object and shape in the center of attention. White space makes it look clean and clear of clutter. Many believe that white space is a waste of space, and therefore a waste of money, as this is space that they believe should be used for content. But we have to educate customers to see the importance ot the white space, and how this can make a bigger impact on the design. I found a poster on Pinterest that I think says it all.

Graphic impact:

It means that the visual graphic should make a big impact on the viewer. That the graphics reinforces the text communication that’s used, and grabs the viewer’s attention. It is important to not use to many large and complicated graphics at the same time, this can be distracting and ruin the design. I found these to posters on Pinterest. I think the first poster has a big impact with its text and art that looks like lounges, they work really well together. The last poster is figure ground, there is no text, but I think the graphic element makes an impact. 


Respira... E deixe ir!

Y te abrazo, para sentirte cerca y te abrazo, para hacer saber cómo palpita mi corazón Y te abrazo, para que tiembles, junto a mi de emoción y te abrazo, aunque te resistas porque soy así de terca